Old Favourites: Alanis Morissette – “Thank U”

“How about them transparent dangling carrots?”

Here’s an interesting one. I don’t think we’ve ever discussed Alanis Morissette – the first lady of boyfriend-revenge pop – properly within the world of this here blog. I admit that there are plenty more obvious places to start than this video, which is one of her few hits that came after the Jagged Little Pill record. But if you’ve garnered anything from reading this blog over nearly three years (if at all), it’s that I’m not always coming from your most obvious points of reference. The late nineties and mid-2000s were my most formative musical times, and they were guided by music videos.

So imagine my shock at seeing a straight-up naked chick just hanging out in a music video. I barely had any idea who Alanis was at the time, but needless to say I stood up and paid attention after the release of this video. No, not like that; c’mon now. I just found this video to be so mesmerising and confronting. Definitely not a video I felt comfortable watching in front of my parents, that’s for sure. The nudity aside – covered up by hair and what Wikipedia describes as a “blurry vulva” – I was taken aback by the context of it. Just standing in the street, either being completely ignored or momentarily embraced by passing strangers.

What did it all stand for, exactly? Did it reflect the fact that only a few people are willing to stop and help someone at their most bare-soul moment? Hell, could anyone actually see Alanis away from those random people? These were the issues that weighed on my mind – and, over a decade on, I still get overwhelmed at the video for Thank U. It takes me back to that time of confusion and discovery – I’m not sure if Alanis ever gave me proper answers, but I can always thank her for getting me to start asking the questions.

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